M. Motherhood is Better the Fifth Time Around
The other day my mom asked me if I was enjoying Number 5 more because there is a bigger age difference between him and Number 4.
That got me to thinking. I really do seem to be enjoying motherhood more right now, but I think it is for several reasons.
It was a lot of work when Numbers 1-4 were little. When I think back on the days when I had 4 kids aged 6 and under, I cringe a bit. I mean, what was I thinking???? Everything was difficult to do because I was hauling around 4 little ones. I used to joke that getting out of the house was like launching the space shuttle. Sometimes I just floated through the days in a haze of tiredness and lack of motivation because I was always doing for the kids instead of with the kids.
I am definitely older, and probably a little bit wiser. When I was a new mother, I found myself freaking out a lot when the kids would start showing some pretty bad behaviors. I would take their behavior way too seriously and think I was doing something wrong raising them. Numbers 1-4 taught me a couple of things 1) kids will try all kinds of behaviors, some good, some bad, it is a part of learning; 2) the phases pass and they will eventually move on to a new thing. So when Number 5 starts biting, instead of panicking and thinking I am raising the next Hannibal Lecter, I know that it is just a phase and it too will pass.
I’ve been around the block a few times. Every once in a while Number 5 surprises me with something that none of the other kids did. But for the most part I have seen every kind of trick that a toddler can pull. It makes it a lot easier to have a sense of humor about things. I often tell Number 5 that he needs to get a lot more creative in trying to push my buttons.
The age difference does matter. Numbers 1-4 were all 2 years or less apart. When they were young I always had 2 kids in diapers, 2 kids that needed to be carried, 2 kids in strollers, etc. There are 3 and a half years between Numbers 4 and 5, and it makes a world of difference. Number 4 was potty trained, dressing herself, feeding herself, and starting preschool when Number 5 was born.
My work situation is different. I worked full-time outside of the house for the majority of the time when Numbers 1-4 were young. I was still working in the lab full-time until Number 5 was 10 months old. One of the things I hated about working when they were young was that I felt like I only got to see them during their grumpy times – the morning rush to get out of the house and dinner and bed time. But now I work part-time from home and set my own hours. I get to be with Number 5 through the whole day and see him during his good times and his bad times.
I know Number 5 is my last. I enjoy Number 5 a lot simply because I know he is my last baby. I am not anxious for him to grow up or to move on to new stages. I am savoring everything and wishing it could last a little bit longer.
Even though I do seem to be having more fun now, I don’t think I would go back and change those early years if I had the chance.
Yes, those years were tiresome and hectic, but they were also tons of fun!